If you're a dog owner, it might be your instinct at this point to naturally pick up the mess your pet has left behind on the street. That’s just how it is. Your dog poops in a public place, you clean it up and put it neatly in a dog poop bag. What might surprise you is how new this entire thing actually is. Would you believe us if we said that whether you should scoop up your pet’s poop was once controversial?
The Regular Life
It’s not like dogs were the first choice of household pets from the start. In the past, they mostly lived outdoors and would go about their business without us having to step in and clean it up. If we look for manuals on how to train your pet dogs, you can’t find one until the start of the 20th century. Granted, sports dogs were being trained before then.
Still, for most of the 20th century, owners only learned how to take their dog outside and make them listen to them. They weren’t concerned about anything beyond that. It was when the 1970s came around that the increasing amount of waste that was left behind by pet dogs began to bother people, turning it into a political issue at one point.
Here was the thing. People were more comfortable with stepping on dog poop than having to actually touch it to clean it up. And then, what was originally only about scooping up dog poop turned into a battle about whether people should keep dogs as pets at all if they can’t make them poop into the gutters directly.
The 1978 poop-scoop law meant organization such as ASPCA feared the law would only make people abandon their dogs. The emergence of books like The Dog Crisis, which suggested dogs weren’t meant to be in cities, caused owners to fear their beloved friend could be taken away.
Then, a solution came in the form of Ed Koch, a mayor-elect during 1977, who wanted the law to be passed by the state government. There was an assemblyman at this hearing who essentially brought out a dog poop bag to demonstrate how the use of their hand wasn't needed for scooping dog poop, and nor do older people have to bend to get the job done.
It doesn’t mean this was a success from the start. Some people even laughed during the demonstration. The law had to be clarified further later to make sure everyone knew that not only do dog owners have to pick up the poop, but so does anyone walking the dog on behalf of them.
Still, the attitude had begun to change. Once the major city of New York accepted the law, it began to spread outside of the city and around the world.
It’s amazing how far we've come from when people weren’t even willing to clean up after their pets. Now, companies actually produce all kinds of dog poop bags. These days, there are lots of environmentally friendly bags like the ones from Poop ‘N Tie.